State Must Explore More Deterrents
The announcement made by J&K Police last week regarding attachment of properties of those who willfully provide shelter to terrorists has led to outrage in Kashmir. The Police specified that in cases where it is proved beyond doubt that the house owner/member had willfully provided shelter or harboured terrorists, the property shall be confiscated by the state. Those who want to outrage over this decision taken by the state may continue to do so. But the fact remains that the announcement has given a ray of hope to the peace-loving people of Kashmir. It has made the peace-loving Kashmiris aspire that terrorism will go down, if not cease altogether. This hope must not be belied.
Such steps taken by the state have a major force-multiplier effect upon the society. They will also deter the terror-related incidents. Such steps of seizing property of willful law-breakers must continue. More such deterrents need to be explored to end the scourge of terrorism. But for good, after facing criticism following its initial announcement on attachment of properties, police clarified that such action would not be taken against those who have been forced to shelter militants “under duress”.
EARLIER, THOSE WHO SHELTERED TERRORISTS WOULD GO SCOT FREE
It had been observed that during anti-terror operations, houses where terrorists got holed up during encounters often used to get demolished. However, owners and those who gave shelter to the terrorists would often go escort free. This is extremely good step that police have now started to book the owners of such houses under anti-terrorism laws on the grounds of giving shelter to terrorists.
Section 2 (G) of The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, is clear. It needs to be implemented in letter and spirit to weed out Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Section 2 (G) deals with the proceeds of terrorism, which could be all kinds of properties acquired with funds traceable to a terrorist act, irrespective of the person in whose name such proceeds are standing, or in whose possession they are found. This includes any property which is being used, or is intended to be used, for the purpose of a terrorist organization [or terrorist gang], Section 2 (G) states.
In February 2021, J&K Police had granted sanction for seizure or attachment of moveable and immovable properties in 46 cases registered under Section 25 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The properties include land, house, vehicles, shops and cash, besides other assets.
GOOD MOVE: NIA ATTACHED ASIYA ANDRABI HOUSE
In Jammu and Kashmir, the Act has been previously used by the National Investigations Agency (NIA) to confiscate the properties of people who have been accused of involvement in militancy. NIA became the first agency to invoke the provisions of the anti-terror act to attach the house of Asiya Andrabi, chief of Dukhtaraan-e-Millat, a women’s terror group affiliated with pro-Pakistan Syed Ali Geelani. Another real deterrent is sacking the services of government employees under Article 311(2)(c) of the Constitution. Over the past few months, government employees who had proven links with terror outfits including Hizbul Mujahideen, Jamaat e Islami and Islamic State and were working as Over Ground Workers (OGWs) were sacked.
The employees whose services were terminated by the government included Syed Ahmad Shakeel and Shahid Yousuf, two sons of terror organization Hizbul Mujahedeen’s chief Syed Salahuddin. Syed Shakeel was working at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and Shahid Yousuf was working at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology.
We all knew who is Yusuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin. We all knew of his declared agenda against the Indian state. Why had his sons been awarded with prestigious positions and fat salaries by the Indian state? This action was long overdue. Why hadn’t this been done for so long?
PREVIOUS REGIMES INCENTIVISED THE TERROR AGENTS
It is also common knowledge in Kashmir that some of these government employees whose services were terminated had secured their jobs with the help of separatist leaders. These separatist leaders got secure and pensionable government jobs for those whom they wanted to favour. What about the poor youth? They were driven to arms training and given stones in their hands. The state has finally pulled off the masks from the faces of such duplicitous Pakistan agents. Kashmir has suffered enough tragedies. Remember the so-called spontaneous street protests of 2016? The mothers of over a hundred budding youth received body bags of their sons in the agitations engineered by Geelani and Co. The past regime gave a plush government job to Geelani’s grandson, and the “simultaneous protests” were called off.
The previous regimes helped terrorism and separatism to grow. Terror agents were incentivized with jobs and other facilities. All those who aspire for peace in Kashmir are aware that both seizure and sacking are deterrents for weeding out terrorism. Sadly, both deterrents came late. Besides these deterrents, more are needed to put an end to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and separatism.